It’s that time of year again—SUNSCREEN season! Sunscreen is such a bag of worms in my opinion. Sure, there are many safe sunscreens out there, but there are even more toxic sunscreens on the market claiming to be “natural” and “safe for kids” so it can be hard to know what to use. I always consult the Environmental Working Group’s, EWG sunscreen guide when making choices for my family. Today I want to share some of my favorite SAFE sun tips and SAFE sunscreen brands with you.
It seems we all have a love/hate relationship with the sun, especially as it relates to our kids. We know the sun offers us much-needed vitamin D, but too much exposure can be a bad thing. We live at the beach in southern California so my kids are out in the sun A LOT. Neither of them have ever been sunburned despite the fact that I use only 1/4 bottle of sunscreen in an entire year! How do I manage that? I follow these EWG sunscreen guide tips below:
EWG sunscreen guide tip #1: Sunscreen should be your last resort.
This might surprise you but sunscreen should be used as minimally as possible. Instead, use UV protective clothing and hats to save your skin from sunburn. We love these sun hats and they pack well, too.
EWG sunscreen guide tip #2: Play in the sun during non-peak hours.
If you’re going to let your little ones run sun wild, try to aim for early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky and less intense. We usually hit the beach during non-peak hours and I let my kids run around shirtless for 15-20 minutes for their vitamin D before we put our sun shirts on.
EWG sunscreen guide tip #3: Seek shade.
If you can’t find a tree to hang out under, then bring an umbrella to the beach and create your own shade. We never leave the house without our sun umbrella, just in case.
EWG sunscreen guide tip #4: Avoid burning.
We all know we should avoid getting burned, right? Sometimes it happens despite our best intentions, but as much as possible avoid getting burned out there. You can also explore changing your diet to help you avoid sunburn, too (yes, really!).
EWG sunscreen guide tip #5: Don’t use spray sunscreens with kids.
I see parents spraying kids all the time on the beach and I understand it’s an easy application process. But spray sunscreens have inhalation risks and don’t usually go on the skin very evenly, either. It’s better to avoid them for children. For more information check out this article from Consumer Reports.
EWG sunscreen guide tip #6: Skip the fragrance.
Pick a fragrance-free option for your child. The term “fragrance” is code for many chemicals that have been linked to health problems including allergies and hormone disruption. You’ll find many safe options without artificial fragrances.
EWG sunscreen guide tip #7: Avoid oxybenzone.
This is a hormone-disrupting ingredient found in over half of the sunscreens on the market. Read labels and don’t buy any sunscreen with oxybenzone!
So…what sunscreen is safe to buy for your kids this summer?
So now you know I don’t use very much sunscreen. We eat a real food diet and practice safe sun exposure. However, when we go on vacation to beach-y destinations and my kids are outside ALL DAY, I up my sunscreen game for sure. Here are two brands of safe sunscreen that I use and love.
Safe sunscreen #1: Beautycounter’s Protect All Over Sunscreen, lotion and stick.
This is my favorite safe sunscreen brand and the only one we use right now. Both the stick and the lotion rub in very well and the stick is not chalky at all. My kids will actually let me put this on their faces once and awhile, too. You can find both the lotion and the stick on the Beautycounter website under sun protection (both usually sell out this time of year, so check back often).
Safe sunscreen #2: Badger’s lotion and stick.
We used Badger for years before switching to Beautycounter. The lotion is harder to rub in, so I prefer the stick with kids. But Badger is a brand I trust so you can’t go wrong using their products. You can find the lotion here and the stick here.
Both of these options are safe according to the EWG sunscreen guide and my family has tried both extensively so we can vouch for them. As with any of the safer options, you need to reapply every few hours if you’re in the sun for a long period of time.
I hope these options help you this summer! What’s your favorite non-toxic sunscreen? Have you rated it on the EWG sunscreen guide? Let me know in the comments below! And make sure your brand of sunscreen is not on the EWG WORST sunscreen list…find it here.